Dating Tips and Advice
Tips from the experts on dating and relationships
Introduction To Dating and Relationships
Making relationships work takes skill and hard work,
regardless of the “love” factor. Granted couples can look
into each other’s eyes and have those warm fuzzy feelings. However,
truth is, all couples will have their ups and downs.
“Happily ever after” seems to imply a perfect,
problem-less relationship when in reality, those don’t exist.
Does it has to be “love at first sight”
in order to work long-term. While this can be true for some, it certainly
doesn’t have to be for all couples in long-term relationships.
Many people grow together over time.
Since practically anyone can learn the nuts and bolts
of relationship building, focusing on some basic techniques that can
be learned is a must. The main ones, in no particular order, are:
- Read: “Read” people well.
- Rapport: Develop rapport with others
- Finesse: Have some finesse; i.e.
handle conversations and activities in a cordial manner
- Conflict Resolution: Resolve negative
issues and conflicts without too much friction
- Support Co-Op: Gain the support and
cooperation in working towards a common goal
Let’s take a little closer look at each and what
learning is involved.
READING PEOPLE: BODY LANGUAGE BRIEFING
Body language is the meaning behind the words or the
Surprisingly, studies show that only up to an estimated
10 percent of our communication is verbal. The majority of the rest
of communication is unspoken. This unspoken language isn’t rocket
However, there are some generalizations or basic interpretations
that can be applied to help with the understanding or translating of
these unspoken meanings. Here are some basics below.
Smile – People like warm smiles.
Think of a heartfelt warm-fussy, maybe your favorite pet, and smile.
Eyes - If you don’t look someone
in the eyes while speaking, this can be interpreted as dishonesty or
hiding something. Likewise, shifting eye movement or rapid changing
of focus/direction can translate similarly. If more than one person
is present in a group, look each person in the eye as you speak, slowly
turning to face the next person and acknowledge him or her with eye
contact as well. Continue on so that each person has felt your warm,
trusting glance. Some suggest beginning with one person and moving clockwise
around the group so that no one is missed, and so that you are not darting
around, seemingly glaring at people.
Attention Span / Attitude – Other
people can tell what type attitude you have by your attention span.
If you quickly lose focus of the other person and what is being said,
and if your attention span wanders, this shows through and makes you
seem disinterested, bored, possibly even uncaring.
Attention Direction – If you
sit or stand so that you are blocking another in the party, say someone
is behind you, this can be interpreted as rude or thoughtless. So be
sure to turn so that everyone is included in the conversation or angle
of view, or turn gently, at ease and slowly, while talking, so that
everyone is incorporated, recognized and involved in the conversation.
Again some suggest the clockwise movement when working a group.
Arms Folded / Legs Crossed– This
can be seen as defensive or an end to the conversation. So have arms
hang freely or hold a glass of water, a business card or note taking
instruments while communicating with others. Be open with open arms.
Note: If you need to cross legs, cross at your ankles and not your knees.
Sitting tightly folded up says that you are closed to communications.
Head Shaking – This is fairly
accurate. If people are shaking their heads while you speak, they are
in agreement. If they are shaking, “no,” disagreement reigns
in their minds.
Space / Distance – On the whole,
people like their own personal body space. Give people room and keep
out of their space. Entering to close can be intrusive and viewed as
Leaning – Sitting or standing,
leaning is viewed as interest. In other words, an interested listener
leans toward the speaker.
Note others’ body language – While you are
with others, note how their bodies read. If a person suddenly folds
his arms across his chest and begins shaking his head “no,”
you’ve probably lost him. Might try taking a step back and picking
up where the conversation began this turn for the negative and regroup.
It’s all about strategic planning!
Now let’s take a quick peak at the basics of developing
rapport with others. In a nutshell, what it takes is to ask questions,
have a positive, open attitude, encourage an open exchange of communications
(both verbal and unspoken), listen to verbal and unspoken communications
and share positive feedback. Here are a few details on each step.
Ask Questions – Building report
is similar to interviewing someone for a job opening or it can be like
a reporter seeking information for an article. Relax and get to know
the other person with a goal of finding common ground or things of interest.
You can begin by simply commenting on the other person’s choice
of attire, if in person, or about their computer, if online, and following
up with related questions.
For example, in person, you could compliment the other
person on their color choice and or maybe a pin, ring or other piece
of jewelry and ask where it came from. In online communications, you
could compliment the other person’s font, smile faces or whatever
they use, mention that the communication style seems relaxed and ask
if he or she writes a lot. Then basically follow up, steering clear
of topics that could entice or cause arguing, while gradually leading
the person to common ground you’d like to discuss.
Attitude – have a positive attitude
and leave social labels at home (or in a drawer, if you’re at
home). Many people can tell instantly if you have a negative attitude
or if you feel superior. So treat other people as you would like to
be treated. And give each person a chance.
Open Exchange – Do encourage
others to share with you. Some people are shy, scared or inexperienced
in communicating and welcome an opportunity to share. So both with body
language and verbal communication invite an exchange. Face the other
person with your arms open, eyes looking into theirs gently (not glaring
or staring), and encourage a conversation with a warm smile.
Listen – Be an active listener.
Don’t focus your thoughts on what YOU will say next. Listen to
what the other person is saying and take your clues from there, while
also noting the body language. For example, if the other person folds
his arms and sounds upset, you may need to change the subject or let
him have some space and distance; maybe even try approaching him later
on and excusing yourself to go make a phone call (of head to the buffet
table or somewhere to escape). On the other hand, if the other person
is leaning towards you, following your every word and communicating
with your as if you were old friends, BINGO. You’ve built rapport!
Share – People like compliments.
So hand them out freely without over doing it. Leaving a nice part of
yourself like a compliment is a good memory for the other person to
recall - -numerous times. That’s good rapport. But do be sincere!
False compliments aren’t easily disguised.
FUNDAMENTALS OF FINESSE
Basically using finesse in handling relationships means
use subtle skill, tact or diplomacy when handling a situation. This
doesn’t mean you need to use fancy, flowery phrases or lengthy
10-letter words or anything. It means focusing on the positive in a
friendly way, and not embarrassing the other person.
For instance, finesse means not telling a host that
he or she has body odor or that his or her house is looks and smells
like a trash dump. Instead, it means politely excusing yourself upon
entering, and informing the host of an unplanned meeting that came up
or family member who dropped by unexpectedly, and that you wanted to
drop by for a quick “Hello” to thank the host for the invitation
before rushing off to your appointment.
Keep things simple here, smile and think, “James
Bond” with that English gentleman concept.
How do you handle conflicts? If you can put your ego
aside pretty much and try to keep friction to a minimum, your relationships
should move along fairly smoothly. Where you feel disagreement, if you
can “agree” to disagree on certain things with the other
party involved, that will help, too. In short, conflict resolution means
to pretty much deal with others as you would want them to deal with
For example, let’s look at fictitious John and
Mary, out on their first date at a restaurant. A drunk man passes by
their table and accidentally spills Mary’s glass of water. John
gets upset and says something along the lines of, “That makes
me mad! I hate drunks. They should all be put in jail.”
Mary, on the other hand, who has an alcoholic father
(unknown as this point to John), may feel embarrassed and saddened by
John’s revelation and get quiet, giving only brief “yes”
or “no” answers from that point on.
Hopefully, John picks up on this. He can use finesse
and conflict resolution and say, “Mary, I’m sorry for my
outburst and really didn’t mean that. Actually, a drunk driver
caused an accident that I read about recently, and I’d really
like to learn about alcoholism and understand it more.”
A statement like this could help ease the conversation
into a more productive stage. Then instead of having an argument about
social versus addictive drinking and possibly ending or breaking up
the relationship because of conflict, the relationship between two people
could actually develop a little farther along or deepen. And John and
Mary could both learn more about each other and broaden their perspectives
in the process.
Relationships may begin with just two people, but more
people eventually become involved. Work friends and associates, family
members, old school chums and various other assorted persons interact
daily, so gaining the support and cooperation in working towards a common
goal is a plus in relationship building.
To put this into perspective, we can look at John and
Mary again. If John gets along fine with Mary, but can’t be in
a room for 10 minutes with her dad or the rest of her family and friends,
the relationship will probably eventually bottom out; i.e. not grow.
However, if John can help build some type of relationship with them
as Mary does, like joining and participating in a holiday meal celebration,
that is a plus and can help build and grow a more solid relationship.
In summary, by learning to use more of these “nuts
and bolts” of relationship building, focusing on some of these
basic techniques can help build and grow relationships. More can be
learned about each technique by simply heading to the local library
or typing in the technique into your favorite search engine. Forget
that, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” saying.
We’re not dogs. And humans CAN learn – at any age!
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You Absolutely Must Know About the One You Are With!
How compatible are you and the person you are with? How would
you know? How can you bring up questions about sex, money and
religion without offending your date?
How can you really know someone who lives
far away? Just because you like the same types of foods and
pets does not mean that you can have a blissful, long-term relationship.
Are you dating a child-hater, abuser, addict
or cross-dresser? Some people marry addicts, felons, abusers
and cross-dressers because they didn't ask these important questions.
83% of divorces occur because couples didn't
ask these questions while they were dating. These are questions
that go beyond small talk and simply making conversation like
you will find in most "questions" books.
All of these questions will help you to really
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After going through these questions, you will really know the
things your sweetheart is passionate about. You will know how
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You will also discover what irritates them
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